I wrote fertilise yourself to educate people on how to become the healthiest and most fertile version of themselves. I have to say, it's been one tremendous ride. But I've discovered something along the way. Those ready to have a baby need little convincing as to why they should get on the fertilise yourself steam train – you know, to give the body maximum chances of conception oh and not just that – to pass on butt kickin' genetic material. After all, the health of the parents shapes the health of the baby (listen to that podcast here). Anyway! What I've realised along the way is that every woman needs to hear this, not just those ready to make a tiny human. My heart has been especially drawn to young women who may not yet know the risks or complications in failing to decode what the body is telling them (think endometriosis, poly cystic ovarian syndrome – ALL treatable and no the pill isn't a treatment, it is a bandaid) or even being on the pill oblivious to the complications and risks it poses.
So here's where I introduce you to Tink (Tegan). She writes on her blog Tink Simplicity and shares of her adventures as a health coach. You might like to check it out. (go on do it) Tink's had her fair share of fertility dramas. What I like most about her story is the beginning, and how she has connected to dots, done her research and would probably tackle her younger years in a completely different way given the chance. Here's a little of her story:
I went on the pill at the innocent age of 15. I had minor skin issues which at that age seemed unbearably major to my vain young self. I was also in a serious relationship with my now fiancé and I wanted to be completely protected, you know just incase we decided to “do the deed”.
My 15 year old self was carefree. I didn’t care about what I was putting into my body. On the weekends it was a concoction of booze, snack foods and greasy takeout to cure my hangovers. Horrific I know, I’m not proud of my wild teenage behaviour. My interests revolved around hanging with my friends, being cool, getting drunk and having fun, considering this, there was no thinking twice about my decision to go on the pill.
I had a pimple or two, my sister was on it, my parents were willing to pay for it, Oh and I heard it could make my boobs bigger. Whatttt? Bigger boobs? I was sold. I don’t recall my GP ever really discussing how the pill actually worked to me although even if she’d have done so, I probably wouldn’t have listened.
Yasmin (the brand of pill) and I spent five temperamental years together. I was a highly strung, angry, biatch of a teenager. I lost my cool on a regular basis, everyone else copped the brunt of my mood swings, and I never once thought to blame my beloved Yasmin. One day I read a short article in a women’s magazine about giving your body a break from the pill. I’d just finished my period and I was low on funds so this prompted me to come off Yasmin, albeit only for a break. That was October 2009; I haven’t had a period since.
So you've heard me talk about the pill, many, many, many, many, many times. Women need to read this stuff. You need to pass this info onto your sister, your cousin, your BFF even your mum! Every woman must know the potential consequences of unhealthy habits and use of the pill. Now back to Tink.
Then the testing process began. I did pregnancy tests, had blood tests, external and internal ultrasounds, visits to the Gyno to get to the bottom of it, all to no avail. First I was an over-exerciser, they pointed the finger at PCOS, could it be my diet? Finally it was dubbed as a “nothing to worry about” case of post pill amenorrhea.
Apparently this is a common occurrence in after women coming off the pill. I was advised to go back on the pill to avoid an oestrogen deficiency. I wanted to ask what happened to my oestrogen but I didn’t. Confused and naïve I implemented their advice. But something changed second time around, it just felt plain wrong taking a pill that had caused me so much grief in the months passed. Beyond the side effects, it no longer felt safe to put these little pills in my mouth. I stopped taking the pill then and there. I pushed it all to the back of my mind for the remainder of 2010.
Post pill amenorrhea is extremely common and considered a normal occurrence for the first 6 months after stopping the pill. Let me remind you – the pill seriously robs your body of essential vitamins and minerals that are vital for fertility. Just to add to the issue, whilst on the pill, your hormones have literally been flatlined. It takes some time to find that groove again – and depending on how long you may have been on the pill, that robbery that's taken place, without assistance, can be almost impossible to recover from.
At that time I wasn’t really thinking about babies and life was exciting. When asked how I was going with it all, my general response was usually. “Oh fine, I'm not worrying about it, if I can’t have kids, then maybe I’m not supposed to procreate”. Looking back now, I can’t decipher whether that was how I really felt at that time or if it was just a way to respond to people’s curiosity whist seeming unaffected by the matter.
Pushed relentlessly by my fiancé, I booked an appointment with a different GP in the early months of 2011. The exact same testing process ensued as in 2010. It was time consuming, expensive & emotionally draining. With still no apparent reason backing my absentee period, I was directed to a hormone specialist.
By this stage I’d come to the conclusion that I wanted to have a baby. All the baby talk, working with babies, lack of ovulation and testing wreaked total havoc on my emotions. Fears of never having children were brought forward; I began longing for something I never knew I wanted so badly.
The hormone specialist accused me of being too skinny- an irritable offence considering she was noticeably thinner than I. She couldn’t understand why I had been sent to her given that my results showed no indication of a hormonal imbalance that she could fix. Proceeding on she turned her nose up at my decision to conceive and pushed her theory of getting older & fatter.
Excuse me for butting in again here. If I hear the 'age' line one more time – I might just yawn and walk off. Don't be scared into being told you are too old (or too anything for that matter). This about health, not necessarily how many years you have left before you're popped on the shelf and left to be barren. A 21 year olds insides can look like a 45 year olds and vice versa. Wellness is key. Age is just a number. You're either fertile or you're not – which of course isn't concrete either.
My Gyno boasted his pregnancy success rate with clomid. Full of confidence he assumed that I would more than likely fall pregnant within the next month or two. My desire to conceive outweighed my desire to care for my body so willingly I turned a blind eye to the potentially harmful toxins I was swallowing. This was a choice riddled with hypocrisy bearing in mind that I was eating organically, using organic beauty products and building a healthier lifestyle.
When the clomid wasn’t working, he did what doctors do best and upped my dosage. I was prescribed another form of medication which I couldn’t pronounce but that was unsuccessful too. I felt dreadful, angry and desperate throughout the clomid process. I did pregnancy tests knowing that the results would be negative yet hoping that just maybe I could be a mysterious case of pregnancy instead of a mysterious case of infertility.
The worst part was I built a fence around myself and kept it all inside. No one was to know the truth. For some reason I was adamant on announcing my pregnancy as if it had occurred naturally. My fertility issues were not to become a topic of discussion, no that would be far too depressing. I was hell bent on showing the world that I was happy and healthy be it the truth or not.
The fifth visit to my gyno, I came undone. His words smacked me hard like a punch in the face. “Your body is totally unresponsive to the treatment”, “It’s a case of unexplained infertility”, “Your levels are impossibly low” In conclusion, “the only viable option I see for you is IVF, I’m sorry I can’t help you”. OUCH! My every emotion regarding this issue rushed through me. I felt tears welling up in my eyes. I practically ran outside, finally I let go. I cried so much I vomited, I called in sick for work, broke down in front of my mother in law before getting in the car and driving straight to my mums place. I needed to be hugged.
Unknown to me immediately, this was actually a blessing in disguise. Bye bye harmful toxins, no more blood tests and no more suppressing of the truth. Quickly I became aware of the freeing power that naturally feeds your soul when you speak your truth.
A month or so later my sister was deliberating over her late period. We bought a pregnancy test. I held her stick, yep in her pee while she busied herself. I watched as one line quickly became two. She did a little dance, I wanted to dance too but I felt numb. I could have hugged her but I didn’t. I was “unbelievably” happy for her, I still am. Negative thoughts were aroused though, I questioned the universe – Why did she conceive effortlessly, whilst I’m finding it so difficult? I personally felt like a failure. I cried for hours that night as well as at the drop of hat in the weeks following.
I felt it well and truly but than amazingly I perked myself up and began directing my energy into positive thinking and healing my reproductive organs holistically. I immersed myself in health and nutritional information, I remembered what it was like to love and accept myself for the amazing being that I am. And now these things make up my life.
The deeper I dig the more discoveries I make, I am powerful, I am strong.
I’m currently undergoing natural fertility treatment and acupuncture. My goal now is not so much to achieve pregnancy but to acquire hormonal balance and body synchronicity. This form of natural treatment is working wonders for me.
Tink – from Tink Simplicity.
I'm totally in love with the realisation Tink made. She recognised that getting healthy is key and whatever comes with that in the future is only going to be maximised by being well. Plus, this maximises fertility. She took her wellness into her hands and didn't sit around waiting for somebody to tell her what was wrong. Treatments like IVF or clomid very often fail because the body is so darn deficient. All women will benefit from boosting their health and getting their own answers. There is always a reason – and remember, in situations like Tegan's, we need to get past the idea that the body is failing – your body is way more clever than that. It's simply speaking to you.
Thanks Tegan for letting us share your story. You certainly aren't alone and your story, and many women can benefit from hearing this.
Want something to help jump start your fertility and health for 2013 – remember it isn't too late to register for the gentle body cleanse which starts next Monday. Details here